Westervelt High School “Reds”

Westervelt High School Gym – 2010
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Photo Courtesy of Dennis Downey
Westervelt HS Gym Building in 2010
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Photo Courtesy of Dennis Downey

The History of Westervelt High School

Westervelt (population approximately 150) is located in south-central Illinois in north-central Shelby County.  Westervelt sits about 20 miles south (and a little east) of Decatur.  Westervelt is located in a true country setting on County Road 1525 East at County Road 1800 North.  Illinois Route 128 passes about 2 miles to the east of town. The town is about five blocks wide and four blocks long.  The Union Pacific Railroad has tracks that pass through Westervelt.  It is likely that the railroad was a major influence in the early development and location of Westervelt.

More research is needed on the history of Westervelt and its former school system.  Our guess is that Westervelt was established in the late 1800s. Gerry Halpin adds this bit of history regarding the town of Westervelt;  “The town is likely named for Dr. L. C. Westervelt, an early Shelby County physician.  There is still a post office and grain elevator in town, also still going strong is the Westervelt Christian Church, a Greek Revival building that was named to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2006.”

A school was likely established at the same time. High school curriculum was probably put in place in the early 1900s. The high school district for Westervelt High was District 189.  This was almost certainly a 2 or 3 year high school.

We believe that Westervelt High School was closed in 1948.  A high school reunion article from 1994 stated that alumni from 1924 through 1948 would be honored. Another article states there was a senior class at Westervelt High School.  It appears that the Westervelt school building continued in use as a grade school for the Shelbyville School District until it was closed in 1975. Westervelt students continue their education in nearby Shelbyville.

Westervelt HS Reunion 1994 Newspaper Article
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Decatur Herald & Review May 29, 1994

As you can tell by the photos taken in 2010 by Dennis Downey, the Westervelt High School building has been razed.  All that remains is the wonderfully constructed gymnasium, still standing majestically in town.

Westervelt High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                              late 1800s / early 1900s

Year closed:                               1948

Consolidated to:                         Shelbyville High School

Westervelt HS team nickname:  “Reds”

Westervelt HS team colors:         Red & White

School Fight Song:                      unavailable

Westervelt High School Gymnasium 2010
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Photo Courtesy of Dennis Downey

Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities

We are curious if athletics were a part of the Westervelt High School experience.  It is quite possible that basketball and other sports were offered to the boys of Westervelt HIgh School.  If so, we are in need of the school fight song, team colors, and team nickname.  Coach’s names and team records are welcome as well.

Were school plays, dances, field trips, band, chorus, and other extra-curricular activities a part of the Westervelt High School experience too?  If you have any information to share, please contact us via the means below.

To Provide Information On Westervelt and Westervelt High School:

A photo of the former high school building and any information would be greatly appreciated.  E-mail items to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net .  You can also write to us at:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

Westervelt High School Basketball Team 1947-48
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Submitted by Dennis Downey

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